Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hoppy Easter Bread

Not going to lie. I love how these little bunnies turned out for Easter! The original intention was to bake Folar da Páscoa, a Portuguese bread given to God children by their God parents (the dough over the egg symbolizes a cross). Even though my beautiful God children live in West VA, I thought it would be nice to include at our own dining table as a cultural tradition. 

While researching the recipe, I discovered that there are a variety of Easter breads from other European cultures (i.e. Greek and Italian). They were so pretty! The braided dough and vibrantly colored eggs nestled in the crevices had me smitten.  

I had my heart set on making a braided bread when it happened. I stumbled upon the image of an adorable baked bunny bun with an embedded egg! Even better - it actually came with directions and a video tutorial! (there's nothing worse than those tantalizing images on Pinterest that lead to nowhere) After watching the video, I pitched my original game plan. Braids out - bunnies in!

For the eggs, in my quest for a more holistic lifestyle, I went with natural food dye via purple cabbage.  There's all sorts of color combinations but I like the look of robin eggs. You cook the cabbage on the stove top to leech out all the pigment then toss in some vinegar and baking soda to help make the color stick.  For the different shades of blue, take the eggs out at different times. The longer in the dye, the darker the hue. The darkest egg sat in the fridge for two nights! I used raw eggs so I had to work very gently not to crack the shell.

The golden flecks are courtesy of edible metallic paint. I put a smidgen on the tip of a paint brush and gently tapped the base to let the color sprinkle freely across the eggs.  The wild look that I ended up with was completely by accident! Since the eggs were decorated while raw, I'm assuming the heat from the egg cooking caused humidity in the oven so the paint gently bubbled. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised by the end result! They look so unique!  

Other decorative accents you can include are the eyes (jelly beans), a coconut coated tail, bows made out of ribbon, and icing.

As for the actual bread, the recipe is basic and straightforward. Just be sure to give yourself ample time as the dough needs to rise. You will need a decent knife and ruler to make life easier when measuring out the different components of the bunny which includes the tail, body, and head. Don't worry if the dough is a little tough to work with - mine was elastic and I feared it would taste tough and chewy. Fortunately, it came out soft and slightly sweet! Phew!

My only qualm is the what do with the Easter egg. I don't fancy eating a hard boiled egg with sweet bread - it's much better paired with a soft cheese, marmalade, or nutella. Maybe collect them and serve them for breakfast? It's a pity to waste a perfectly good egg so get creative!

Even though some didn't come out perfectly shaped (we lovingly dubbed them "Dino Bunnies"), it was well worth the effort. Hoppy Easter!

For the recipe and tutorial, check out Yoyomax12's video on YouTube for Easter Bread Bunnies!